The North-South Institute



Mining Codes in Africa: Emergence of a “Fourth” Generation?

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Mining Codes in Africa: Emergence of a “Fourth” Generation?

Published: March 28, 2013

A growing interest among academics, policy-makers and civil society groups has developed concerning Africa’s mineral extraction sector – particularly its mining codes – which are now at the centre of a wider policy debate over natural resource governance and economic development on the continent. This article reviews the evolution of Africa’s regulatory codes in the mining sector, which have undergone successive waves of liberalization since the 1980s. We also highlight new voluntary, regional and transnational initiatives, driven by a host of heterogeneous actors from Africa and abroad, which may be giving rise to a “fourth” generation of mining codes and natural resource practices which place primary emphasis on transparency and accountability by both mining companies and host governments. This new generation of natural resource governance initiatives presents new opportunities as well as unique challenges, particularly in the context of the growing role of emerging economies such as the BRICS in Africa’s mining sector. We conclude by assessing future trends and charting policy options.

A revised version is published in Canada Among Nations 2013 – Canada-African Relations: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, Waterloo, ON: CIGI, 2013.

Authors: Hany Besada and Philip Martin

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